A fun film, but not for kids, Venom is a mashup of Spider-Man, Alien, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The symbiote’s dialogue is a little clunky, but this movie is not the turd in the wind we were made to believe.
Space is a dangerous place, it turns out. It’s littered with debris, comets and gooey aliens. Some of those aliens make their way to earth aboard a space shuttle belonging to a Musk-y billionaire named Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). Drake’s eye is on the future, a future in space. Motivated by the dual dangers of “climate change and overpopulation,” Drake decides to enhance mankind with the help of his gooey spaceworms called symbiotes so he can colonize the final frontier. The only kink in his plan is that the symbiotes are lethal and the bodies are starting to pile up.
Enter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), medium-mannered reporter with an attitude and a bleeding heart looking for the evidence he needs to expose Drake for the moustache-twirling, mad scientist he truly is. When he fails on his first attempt to expose the maniacal Drake, he loses his job, his girl, his kitty, and his downtown San Francisco Queen Anne townhouse valued conservatively around $1.2M. Tough blow.
After 6 months, though, he gets another chance to break in to Drake’s lab, where he absorbs a symbiote. From there, we get the hilarious powers sequence where Brock discovers what the symbiote can do (think 2002 Spider-Man with a split personality). Then we get a sort of Alien/Jekyll-Hyde amalgam where Brock and the symbiote, Venom (or Vnm Vnm Vnm if you prefer Eminem’s pronunciation), figure out if they can work together toward a common interest, saving San Francisco for Michelle Williams, who BTW still owns the townhouse.
The movie has more humor than I was led to believe. In fact, this movie is funnier than 2002 Spider-Man, though not as funny as Thor: Ragnarok. On the other hand, Venom’s ferocity never reaches the promise of the trailer as all the blood and violence is done off screen (thus achieving a PG-13 rating), and the action sequences leave a lot to be desired because of the excess shaky cam CGI. The dialogue is clunky, but Venom still has plenty of charm.
If you’re looking for an edgier sibling of Spider-Man (2002), Venom is it.
3 out of 5 cushions!!!